Fundamentals of Christian Education

81/112

Chapter 58—The Bible the Most Important Book for Education in Our Schools

The Bible is the revelation of God to our world, telling us of the character we must have in order to reach the paradise of God. We are to esteem it as God's disclosure to us of eternal things,—the things of most consequence for us to know. By the world it is thrown aside, as if the perusal of it were finished, but a thousand years of research would not exhaust the hidden treasure it contains. Eternity alone will disclose the wisdom of this book. The jewels buried in it are inexhaustible; for it is the wisdom of an infinite mind. FE 444.1

At no period of time has man learned all that can be learned of the word of God. There are yet new views of truth to be seen, and much to be understood of the character and attributes of God,—His benevolence, His mercy, His long forbearance, His example of perfect obedience. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” This is a most valuable study, taxing the intellect, and giving strength to the mental ability. After diligently searching the word, hidden treasures are discovered, and the lover of truth breaks out in triumph, “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” FE 444.2

The Bible, fully received and studied as the voice of God, tells the human family how to reach the abodes of eternal happiness, and secure the treasures of heaven. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Are we then so dull that we cannot comprehend it? Shall we cultivate a deep hunger for the productions of learned authors, and disregard the word of God? It is this great longing for something they never ought to crave, that makes men substitute for knowledge, that which cannot make them wise unto salvation. FE 444.3

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we make known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever.” FE 445.1

It is by the perusal of the Bible that the mind is strengthened, refined, and elevated. If there were not another book in the wide world, the word of God, lived out through the grace of Christ, would make man perfect in this world, with a character fitted for the future, immortal life. Those who study the word, taking it in faith as the truth, and receiving it into the character, will be complete in Him who is all and in all. Thank God for the possibilities set before humanity. But a study of the many different authors confuses and wearies the mind, and has a detrimental influence upon the religious life. In the Bible are specified distinctly man's duties to God and to his fellow men; but without a study of the word, how can these requirements be met? We must have a knowledge of God; for “this is life eternal,” said Christ, “that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” FE 445.2

Let not man's assertions be considered as truth when they are contrary to the word of God. The Lord God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the source of all wisdom, is second to none. But those supposed great authors, who give to our schools their textbooks for study, are received and glorified, even though they have no vital connection with God. By such study man has been led away from God into forbidden paths; minds have been wearied to death through unnecessary work in trying to obtain that which is to them as the knowledge which Adam and Eve disobeyed God in obtaining. If Adam and Eve had never touched the tree of knowledge, they would have been where the Lord could impart to them knowledge from His word, knowledge which would not have had to be left behind with the things of this world, but which they could carry with them to the paradise of God. But today young men and women spend years and years in acquiring an education which is but wood and stubble, to be consumed in the last great conflagration. Many spend years of their life in the study of books, obtaining an education that will die with them. Upon such an education God places no value. This supposed wisdom gained from the study of different authors, has excluded and lessened the brightness and value of the word of God. Many students have left school unable to receive the word of God with the reverence and respect that they gave it before they entered, their faith eclipsed in the effort to excel in the various studies. The Bible has not been made a standard matter in their education, but books mixed with infidelity and propagating unsound theories have been placed before them. FE 446.1

There is nothing so ennobling and invigorating as a study of the great themes which concern our eternal life. Let students seek to grasp these God-given truths; let them seek to measure these precious things, and their minds will expand and grow strong in the effort. But a mind crowded with a mass of matter it will never be able to use, is a mind dwarfed and enfeebled, because only put to the task of dealing with commonplace material. It has not been put to the task of considering the high, elevated disclosures coming from God. FE 447.1

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” As the mind is summoned to the consideration of these great themes, it will rise higher and higher in the comprehension of these subjects of eternal importance, leaving the cheaper and insignificant matters to drop as a dead weight. FE 447.2

All unnecessary matters need to be weeded from the course of study, and only such studies placed before the student as will be of real value to him. With these alone he needs to become familiarized, that he may secure for himself that life which measures with the life of God. And as he learns of these, his mind will strengthen and expand as did the mind of Christ and of John the Baptist. What was it that made John great?—He closed his mind to the mass of tradition taught by the teachers of the Jewish nation, opening it to the wisdom “which cometh down from above.” Before his birth, the Holy Spirit testified of John: “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” And in his prophecy, Zacharias said of John, “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.” FE 447.3

Simeon said of Christ, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.” “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Jesus and John were represented by the educators of that day as ignorant, because they had not learned under them. But the God of heaven was their teacher, and all who heard were astonished at their knowledge of the Scripture, having never learned. Of them, they had not, truly; but from God they had learned the highest kind of wisdom. FE 448.1

The judgment of men, even of teachers, may be very wide of the mark as to what constitutes true education. The teachers in the days of Christ did not educate the youth in the correct knowledge of the Scriptures, which lie at the foundation of all education worthy of the name. Christ declared to the Pharisees, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God,” “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” And He prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” FE 448.2

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” Has Satan succeeded in removing the sanctity from the day thus distinguished above all others? He has succeeded in putting another day in its stead, but never can he take from it the blessing of the Lord. “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” What can be more positive and clear than these words? And has God changed? He will remain the same through all eternity, but man “has sought out many inventions.” FE 449.1

The Bible is full of knowledge, and all who come to its study with a heart to understand, will find the mind enlarged and the faculties strengthened to comprehend these precious, far-reaching truths. The Holy Spirit will impress them upon the mind and soul. But those who give instruction to the young, need first to become fools that they may be wise. If they ignore a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” and pluck from the tree of knowledge that which God has forbidden them to have, which is a knowledge of disobedience, their transgression brings them into condemnation and sin. Shall we extol such men for their great knowledge? Shall we sit at the feet of those who ignore the truths which sanctify the soul? “As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule you.” Why do not the educators of today heed these warnings? Why are they stumbling, not knowing at what they stumble? It is because Satan has blinded their eyes, and the stumblingblock of their iniquity is presented before others by their precept and example. Thus other eyes are blinded, and those who ought to walk in the light, are walking in darkness; for they do not steadfastly behold Jesus, the Light of the world. FE 449.2

Great light was given to the Reformers, but many of them received the sophistry of error through misinterpretation of the Scriptures. These errors have come down through the centuries, but although they be hoary with age, yet they have not behind them a “Thus saith the Lord.” For the Lord has said, I will not “alter the thing that is gone out of My lips.” In His great mercy the Lord has permitted still greater light to shine in these last days. To us He has sent His message, revealing His law and showing us what is truth. FE 450.1

In Christ is the fountain of all knowledge. In Him our hopes of eternal life are centered. He is the greatest teacher the world has ever known, and if we desire to enlarge the minds of the children and youth, and win them, if possible, to a love of the Bible, we should fasten their minds upon the plain and simple truth, digging out that which has been buried beneath the rubbish of tradition, and letting the jewels shine forth. Encourage them to search into these subjects, and the effort put forth will be an invaluable discipline. The unfolding of God, as represented in Jesus Christ, furnishes a theme that is grand to contemplate, and that will, if studied, sharpen the mind, and elevate and ennoble the faculties. As the human agent learns these lessons in the school of Christ, trying to become as Christ was, meek, and lowly of heart, he will learn the most useful of all lessons,—that intellect is supreme only as it is sanctified by a living connection with God. FE 450.2

The warning and instruction given in the word of God with regard to false shepherds, should have some weight with the teachers and students in our schools. Advice should be given to the students not to take such shepherds as their highest authority. What need is there for students to bind off their education by attending at Ann Arbor to receive the finishing touch? It has proved to be the finishing touch to very many as far as spirituality and belief in the truth are concerned. It is unnecessary discipline, opening the mind to the sowing of tares among the wheat; and it is not pleasing to our Great Teacher thus to glorify teachers who have not ears to hear or minds to comprehend a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” In thus honoring those who are educating directly away from the truth, we do not meet the approval of God. Let the words of the Lord, spoken to the world through the prophet Isaiah, have weight with us. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” “To this man will I look,” saith the Lord, “even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” The humble, who seek the Lord, have wisdom unto eternal life. FE 450.3

The greatest wisdom, and most essential, is the knowledge of God. Self sinks into insignificance as it contemplates God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. The Bible must be made the foundation for all study. Individually we must learn from this lesson-book which God has given us, the condition of the salvation of our souls; for it is the only book that tells us what we must do in order to be saved. Not only this, but from it strength may be received for the intellect. The many books which education is thought to embrace, are misleading, a deception and a delusion. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” Satan is now stirring up the minds of men to furnish to the world literature which is of a cheap, superficial order, but which fascinates the mind, and fastens it in a network of Satan's contrivance. After reading these books, the mind lives in an unreal world, and the life, so far as usefulness is concerned, is as barren as a fruitless tree. The brain is intoxicated, making it impossible for the eternal realities, which are essential for the present and the future, to be pressed home. A mind educated to feed upon trash is unable to see in the word of God the beauty that is there. Love for Jesus and inclination to righteousness are lost; for the mind is built up from that upon which it feeds. By feeding the mind upon exciting stories of fiction, man is bringing to the foundation “wood, hay, stubble.” He loses all taste for the divine Guidebook, and cares not to study the character he must form in order to dwell with the redeemed host, and inhabit the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare. FE 451.1

God has most graciously granted us a probation in which to prepare for the test which will be brought upon us. Every advantage is given us through the mediation of Christ. If the human agent will study the word, he will see that every facility has been freely provided for those who are seeking to be overcomers. The Holy Spirit is present to give strength for victory, and Christ has promised, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”—Special Testimonies on Education, 157 (1896). FE 452.1